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Oles Morrison

Partner Spotlight – Angelia Wesch

Thu Nov 1, 2018

Our 125 years of success are a direct result of the hard work and support of our people. We want to recognize the people that make Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker what it is today and those that will impact the future of the firm. Each month, we will share a Partner Spotlight that not only highlights one of our partners but the biggest issues impacting the legal industry.

Angelia D. Wesch, Managing Partner
Seattle, Washington Office

How long have you been practicing law?
Nearly 30 years in total with the last four at Oles Morrison

How has the legal industry and/or your practice area evolved since you started practicing law?
The expectations of clients, opposing counsel, and even colleagues have changed considerably. When I began practicing law, technology (at that time really only computers as smartphones did not even exist yet) was touted as the solution to our burdened schedules. It was a way for already busy lawyers to gain better control over their schedules, to be more efficient, and to work remotely from anywhere in the world, at any time. The only thing they got right is the “anywhere, anytime” part. Technology has allowed the practice of law to evolve. However, I sometimes question whether the “available 24/7” culture is good for our health and wellbeing, improves the quality of legal services being delivered or even boosts a law firm’s bottom line. Technology also seems to have fostered a more “faceless alienation” of persons involved in the legal process. Social media, for all of its benefit-driven intentions, can be useful or not, depending on how it is used. When I began practicing law, the only thing that could have been considered “social media” was for a group of people to go out to a movie together! Times change. Change is good. It forces the present culture to self-examine how things are being done and figure out if there is a better way. But technology must be managed well to use it as a tool and to not allow it to detract from the core purpose of lawyering which is to provide quality advice and counsel to clients who entrust their conflicts, their dreams, plans, and ideas to their trusted legal advisors.

How has the Seattle economy changed over the years?
Seattle has always been a gold rush town. That sense of optimism and opportunity pervades the thinking of the business leaders in our community today. Seattle attracts out-of-the-box thinkers who appreciate that big risks can come with the promise of big return and significant change to how things have been done. Innovative thinkers throughout Seattle’s history helped create an economy that can thrive and be challenging, often at the same time. Technology presently dominates the business landscape of Seattle. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Facebook, Google, Tableau, Oracle, F5, and countless others are eager to create a solid footprint in Seattle. Tech was also the big player in early 2000 in Seattle. When the dot-com boom came, Seattle had to reinvent itself again. Seattle is more comfortable in that “reinvent yourself” space than many other cities across the country. It keeps our outlook fresh and our economy generally strong.

What is one legal trend your clients should be paying attention to right now?
There are two that we should be paying attention to: law firm consolidations and automation/outsourcing of many functions previously performed by support and paralegal staff. I do not see the automation trend really supplanting the need for clients to interact with their legal advisors and their support staff, but the trend is impossible to ignore.

What is your most memorable case?
The Seattle Slew litigation in the early 1990’s is my most memorable case. Former Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, was one of the most incredible racehorses in modern times. I was involved in litigation over the course of several years involving the multi-million-dollar syndication schemes and tax structures created by attorneys who had previously advised the owners of the Seattle Slew. The clients were wonderful, salt-of-the-earth people from eastern Washington who loved their horse more than anything and just happened to pick the “one in a million” horse at a sale. They had not previously owned racehorses. They just thought it might be fun. The facts of the case were fascinating, complex and the thoroughbred racing industry steeped in interesting jargon and history. The horse was one of a kind. In helping them find a legal resolution, I learned more about thoroughbred racing— “The Sport of Kings” than I ever imagined. And, Seattle Slew (actually his wonderful owners on his behalf) sent me a beautiful Christmas card every year after until he finally passed and moved on to the greenest pasture in the sky.

Click here for more information about Angelia Wesch and her practice.